Schweyer, Policy Committee examine commonwealth’s job market, ways to make state economically competitive (with video)

ALLENTOWN, March 19 – The House Democratic Policy Committee today heard from leaders in the business, labor and job-training industries, along with state officials, concerning Pennsylvania’s economy at a hearing requested by state Rep. Peter Schweyer, D-Lehigh. The meeting focused on creating a competitive job market, specifically with regard to the manufacturing sector. 

“House Democrats are leading the way in developing policies that will help create family-sustaining, private-sector jobs,” Schweyer said.  “Today’s conversation with leaders in business and labor was incredibly informative and will prove to be most helpful in the coming months.”

The hearing was held at Allentown Economic Development Corp., located in the 22nd Legislative District represented by Schweyer and based in a former Mack Trucks assembly plant transformed into a manufacturing-focused business incubator.

"We are happy that Representative Schweyer asked AEDC to host the committee hearing at Bridgeworks Enterprise Center and that he is taking a deep interest in the creation of manufacturing jobs in Allentown,” said R. Scott Unger, AEDC executive director. “These types of jobs provide livable wages to Allentown families that are typically higher than service-sector wages in the city."

Schweyer co-chaired the hearing with state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, who serves as Democratic House Policy Committee chairman.

“I commend Representative Schweyer for taking up such an important issue, especially as a new legislator,” Sturla said. “He understands that creating and sustaining jobs is part of Governor Wolf’s three-pronged plan for moving Pennsylvania in an upward and positive direction.”  

Those testifying at the hearing included: Eileen Cipriani, special assistant for strategic initiatives, Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry; Primo Acernese, president/CEO, TerraGroup Corp.; Lori Novak, vice president of administration, TerraGroup Corp.; Mark Tapsack, chief science officer, Zzyzx Polymers; Nancy Dischinat, executive director, Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board; Michelle Griffin Young, executive vice president of government and external affairs, Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce; and Ed Balukas, president, UAW Local 677.